PROBLEM: The presence of anti-sperm antibodies (ASA) in female serum has been correlated with decreased fertilization in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) program: however, the impact of each type of ASA (IgG, IgA. IgM) is not known.
METHOD: To clarify the role of each ASA subtype, the immunobead binding technique was used to identify IgG. IgA. and IgM ASA in the female sera and on the spermatozoa from 137 couples undergoing the IVF program.
RESULTS: Couples with ASA on spermatozoa had a lower fertilization rate and lower number of transferred embryos: and IgG was the major immunoglobin involved. Couples with ASA in female sera showed significant decreases in the rates of fertilization, cleavage, and number of transferred embryos only when IgM was detected, but not IgG or IgA. However, the presence of IgA ASA in female sera was only associated with a decrease in pregnancy rate, although the number of transferred embryos was not reduced.
CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that ASA can influence the results of IVF and that the specific effect is dependent upon the subtypes of ASA.